Maintenance & Management Services
Once the development is complete and the scheme or building occupied the advantages of all of the pre-occupation work will be realised. Having a structure and a team in place that is familiar with the services, systems and fabric reaps dividends for tenants, visitors and landlords. Depending upon the type and nature of the development and the services installations the planned maintenance of the buildings should be capable of being achieved within carefully agreed parameters.
The important difference between a Build To Rent scheme and a more traditional Landlord / Leaseholder and multi ownership development is that the Tenant does not have any responsibility to maintain the building or contribute to the cost of doing so, as opposed to the Landlord and Leaseholder who do. Furthermore the impact of major maintenance works, renewals, upgrades, and so on will be perceptively starker as the paying Tenant will only experience the disruption and inconvenience without the benefits.
The owner of the development and the asset management / service delivery teams therefore need to plan very carefully how such disruptive but necessary works are planned and executed. Get it wrong and the reputation of the development reduces and voids start to creep up, hitting cash flow and rental income.
At Harris Associates we approach the management of maintenance works for Build To Rent schemes in the same way that we might roll out works for a hotel. The main factors in assuring success are as follows:
- Put in place dynamic & effective service agreement contracts
- Adopt an effective inspection and testing regime
- Identify key maintenance milestones
- Maintain the core Tenant services at all times
- Agree the Plan, Stick to the Plan & Communicate the Plan
- Notwithstanding the above be prepared to be flexible – Controlled change is acceptable; unplanned change is not
Finally, in the context of management and maintenance it is imperative that all service providers buy in to the fact that Tenants are the customers and need to be treated as such. From front of house to the team that deals with refuse, the onus must be on making the experience of living at the property a positive one and one where the Tenant feels central to all parties’ efforts and attention.